Bye Bye Birdie (1963)

112 mins | Musical comedy | 4 April 1963

Director:

George Sidney

Writer:

Irving Brecher

Producer:

Fred Kohlmar

Cinematographer:

Joseph Biroc

Editor:

Charles Nelson

Production Designer:

Paul Groesse

Production Company:

Kohlmar-Sidney Co.
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HISTORY

The 10 Feb 1961 NYT announced that theater director Gower Champion signed a multi-picture deal with Columbia Pictures. His first assignment was a film version of the 1960 musical, Bye Bye Birdie, which Champion directed for the Broadway stage. Ten months later, the 9 Sep 196 LAT reported that Champion’s obligations to four touring companies of Birdie and an upcoming stage production forced him to withdraw from the picture. The 1 Dec 1961 LAT noted that Columbia hoped to cast Debbie Reynolds in the film, but she declined unless Champion was directing. On 26 Jan 1962, LAT announced George Sidney as the new director, and his choice of Bill Hayes for the lead role. Three weeks later, the 20 Feb 1962 DV noted that Mary Jane Saunders was doing a screen test for the role of “Kim MacAfee.” The 23 Feb 1962 DV reported that musical arranger and conductor Johnny Green was expected to begin recording in late May 1962. George Sidney and producer Fred Kohlmar were scouting locations and interviewing prospective cast members in New York City. Tentative plans to film a musical number in Pennsylvania Station would be decided during the their visit. Upon their return to California, the 6 Mar 1962 DV stated that Sidney and Kohlmar had made sixteen screen tests of teenaged actors. No decision had been made on filming in Pennsylvania Station, which was scheduled for demolition later that year. As reported in the 27 Mar 1962 DV, Kohlmar and Sidney cast ... More Less

The 10 Feb 1961 NYT announced that theater director Gower Champion signed a multi-picture deal with Columbia Pictures. His first assignment was a film version of the 1960 musical, Bye Bye Birdie, which Champion directed for the Broadway stage. Ten months later, the 9 Sep 196 LAT reported that Champion’s obligations to four touring companies of Birdie and an upcoming stage production forced him to withdraw from the picture. The 1 Dec 1961 LAT noted that Columbia hoped to cast Debbie Reynolds in the film, but she declined unless Champion was directing. On 26 Jan 1962, LAT announced George Sidney as the new director, and his choice of Bill Hayes for the lead role. Three weeks later, the 20 Feb 1962 DV noted that Mary Jane Saunders was doing a screen test for the role of “Kim MacAfee.” The 23 Feb 1962 DV reported that musical arranger and conductor Johnny Green was expected to begin recording in late May 1962. George Sidney and producer Fred Kohlmar were scouting locations and interviewing prospective cast members in New York City. Tentative plans to film a musical number in Pennsylvania Station would be decided during the their visit. Upon their return to California, the 6 Mar 1962 DV stated that Sidney and Kohlmar had made sixteen screen tests of teenaged actors. No decision had been made on filming in Pennsylvania Station, which was scheduled for demolition later that year. As reported in the 27 Mar 1962 DV, Kohlmar and Sidney cast British actor Michael Evans as “Claude Paisley,” a character created for the film as a romantic rival for “Albert Peterson,” played by Dick Van Dyke in a reprise of his Broadway role. The picture marked Van Dyke’s screen debut, and Evans’s first appearance in an American feature. According to the 26 Apr 1962 LAT, the film was actress Ann-Margret’s first for Columbia under her two-picture deal with the studio. The 21 May 1962 DV noted that singer Jesse Pearson, who was under exclusive contract to Columbia, was set to reprise his stage role as “Conrad Birdie.” News items in the 23 May 1962 DV and 1 Apr 1963 LAT revealed that singer Bobby Rydell postponed nightclub engagements at the Copacabana in New York City, and the Sands in Las Vegas, NV, to make his first motion picture. His commitment to the production was expected to last twelve weeks. Principal photography began 4 May 1963, as stated in the 3 May 1962 DV. The 18 May 1962 DV estimated the budget at $5 million.
       The 13 May 1962 NYT reported that the “Spanish Rose” number, featuring Janet Leigh, was extended for the film, utilizing an entire ballroom set. Her character, “Rosie DeLeon,” intrudes on a convention of “Sultans,” an organization modeled on the Shriners. The character was named “Rosie Alvarez” in the stage production. Van Dyke, who enters the scene by falling down a flight of stairs, admitted that a stand-in performed the stunt.
       An article in the 16 May 1963 LAT revealed that images of dance rehearsals were captured by still photographer Mel Traxel. The developed prints were assembled into storyboards, which aided George Sidney and director of photography Joseph Biroc in expediting the processes of staging, lighting, and deciding camera angles, among others. On 1 Jun 1962, DV announced that the production was moving temporarily to the Revue (Universal) Studios backlot to film the musical number, “Honestly Sincere.” In addition to principal cast members, 300 background actors were required. The 19 Jun 1962 DV reported that a musical sequence, filmed over two days at Hollywood High School, featured 200 of the school’s students, all of whom were members of the Screen Extras Guild (SEG).
       The 10 Jul 1962 DV noted that Van Dyke needed to complete his role by the end of the month, so he could begin filming the next season of his weekly television series, The Dick Van Dyke Show (CBS, 3 Oct 1961 – 1 Jun 1966). According to the 27 Jul 1962 LAT, Columbia Pictures promised the actor an around-the-world trip, with the provision that he made promotional appearances in thirty-two cities.
       A news item in the 3 Jul 1963 LAT stated that 300 gallons of artificial smoke were used for the Hymn For A Sunday Evening sequence, shot on Stage 1 at Columbia Studios. When residual smoke poured onto the street, a passing “air pollution prevention officer” instructed the company to channel it through an unoccupied neighboring stage and release it gradually, rather than in a large cloud. Weeks later, the 10 Aug 1962 DV reported that Ed Sullivan, host of the weekly variety series, The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS, 20 Jun 1948 – 6 Jun 1971), was expected in Los Angeles, CA, that day. His scenes were filmed on 13 and 14 Aug 1962, as noted in the latter day’s DV. Sullivan explained that comedian Jack Benny had convinced him to appear in Bye Bye Birdie, as it would be good publicity for the television series. Clips from the picture would be shown on the program during its upcoming season.
       On 15 Aug 1962, DV announced that Kohlmar and Sidney were flying to New York City for eight days of exterior filming. Included among the sites would be the Statue of Liberty and Hunter College. Afterward, the unit moved to Washington, DC, to shoot footage of television journalist John Daly. The company returned to the Columbia lot on 24 Aug 1962, as stated in that day’s DV. Photography was scheduled to resume three days later.
       On 13 Sep 1962, DV reported that auditions for twenty dancers were being held that day for “The Telephone Hour” sequence. The following week, the 17 Sep 1962 DV noted that Van Dyke and Leigh returned to Columbia to re-record their final vocal duet in the picture, which was lost due to a “mechanical problem.” Leigh was on her honeymoon at the time. Within the month, a 12 Oct 1962 DV news item stated that George Sidney was directing both Birdie at Columbia, and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) production, A Ticklish Affair (1963, see entry), known at the time by its working title, Moon Walk.
       The 9 Nov 1962 DV reported that Sidney would produce and direct Ann-Margret’s Scrapbook, an eight-minute promotional short subject scripted by Jack Atlas and Joe Anson, featuring highlights of the actress’s career. The footage was intended for both “theatrical distribution” and as part of a television trailer, to be released in the spring of 1963. According to the 16 Nov 1962 DV, the studio also planned to make trailers in Swedish and French, featuring Ann-Margret singing in both languages and demonstrating a popular dance called the “twist.” Filming was scheduled for the following week. Meanwhile, Fred Kohlmar contracted with animation company Hanna-Barbera Productions to create seven minutes of “cartoon effects” for the picture, as stated in the 19 Nov 1962 DV.
       Casting announcements included Peter and Paul Pepper (23 Jul 1962 DV); Walter Rode and George Zoritch (6 Aug 1962 DV); Frances O’Farrell (14 Aug 1962 DV); Toni Basil, Kathy Gayle, Elaine Joyce, Karen Keutsch, Paula Martin, Teri Robinson, Sandra Bonner, Pat Tribble, Ann Consoli, Judy Van Wormer, Lorene Yarnell, Jacqueline Gregory, Susan Luckey, Ellen Plasschaert, Rene Jarmon, Robert Banas, John Moore, Gary Scharff, David Sutherland, Bruce Hov, James Bates, Jimmy Hibbard, Pete Menafee, Lynn Ready, Lou Zeldis, Alex Plasschaert, Gildo Denuzio, Currie Pederson, and Tod Miller (16 Aug 1962 DV) ; Sally Mason and Gary Nenteer (19 Sep 1962 DV) ; George Spicer and Tony Benson (27 Sep 1962 DV) ; Kathy West (28 Sep 1962 DV). The picture marked the screen debut of Beverly Yates, according to the 28 May 1962 DV, and the final screen role for actor Frank Albertson, who died 29 Feb 1964. The 13 Apr 1962 DV credited Art Sarno as unit publicist.
       Nearly three months later, the 8 Feb 1962 DV revealed that Sidney returned to the Columbia lot to film an addition musical number with Ann-Margret. A premiere was tentatively scheduled at Radio City Music Hall in New York City over the Easter weekend. On 15 Feb 1963, DV announced that the final scene would be completed the next day. Johnny Green completed recording the soundtrack album on 26 Feb 1963, as noted in that day’s DV.
       The 1 Apr 1963 DV reported enthusiastic audience response to a 28 Mar 1963 preview screening at the Paramount Theatre in Hollywood, CA. Among the attendees were Kohlmar, Sidney, and screenwriter Irving Brecher. Bye Bye Birdie opened 4 Apr 1963 in New York City, and 5 Apr 1963 in Los Angeles, CA, to positive reviews. The 8 and 9 Apr 1963 DV estimated weekend box office receipts of $120,000 and $39,000 for New York City and Los Angeles, respectively.        The film received two Academy Award nominations for Sound and for Music—Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment. It was also nominated for two Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture—Comedy or Musical, and Best Actress—Comedy or Musical (Ann-Margret). Music sales charts in the 13 Nov 1963 Var listed the soundtrack album at number five, after twenty-nine weeks in release.
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SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
20 Feb 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
23 Feb 1962
p. 8.
Daily Variety
6 Mar 1962
p. 21.
Daily Variety
27 Mar 1962
p. 6.
Daily Variety
13 Apr 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
3 May 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
18 May 1962
p. 1.
Daily Variety
21 May 1962
p. 1.
Daily Variety
23 May 1962
p. 10.
Daily Variety
28 May 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
1 Jun 1962
p. 9.
Daily Variety
19 Jun 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
10 Jul 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
23 Jul 1962
p. 6.
Daily Variety
6 Aug 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
10 Aug 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
14 Aug 1962
p. 4, 8.
Daily Variety
15 Aug 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
16 Aug 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
24 Aug 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
13 Sep 1962
p. 3.
Daily Variety
17 Sep 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
19 Sep 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
27 Sep 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
28 Sep 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
12 Oct 1962
p. 2.
Daily Variety
9 Nov 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
16 Nov 1962
p. 8.
Daily Variety
19 Nov 1962
p. 4.
Daily Variety
8 Feb 1963
pp. 2-3.
Daily Variety
15 Feb 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
23 Feb 1963
p. 7.
Daily Variety
1 Apr 1963
p. 2.
Daily Variety
4 Apr 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
8 Apr 1963
p. 3.
Daily Variety
9 Apr 1963
p. 3.
Los Angeles Times
9 Sep 1961
Section B, p. 6.
Los Angeles Times
1 Dec 1961
Section A, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
26 Jan 1962
Section A, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
26 Apr 1962
Section A, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
16 May 1963
Section C, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
19 Jun 1962
Section C, p. 7.
Los Angeles Times
3 Jul 1963
Section D, p. 8.
Los Angeles Times
27 Jul 1962
Section C, p. 10.
Los Angeles Times
22 Mar 1963
Section D, p. 12.
Los Angeles Times
5 Apr 1963
Section D, p. 16.
New York Times
10 Feb 1961
p. 21.
New York Times
13 May 1962
Section X, p. 7.
New York Times
15 May 1962
p. 48.
New York Times
5 Apr 1963
p. 27.
New York Times
4 Mar 1964
p. 37.
Variety
13 Nov 1963
p. 50.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Fred Kohlmar-George Sidney Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
Asst dir
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Cam asst
ART DIRECTOR
Prod des
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
COSTUMES
Ward coordinator & women's ward
Miss Leigh's cost by
Men's ward
MUSIC
Mus arr & cond
Mus coordinator
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
DANCE
Choreog
Choreography & asst choreography
MAKEUP
Makeup supv
Teenage makeup created by
Makeup
Miss Leigh's hairstyles
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod asst
Unit loc mgr
Scr supv
Stills
Gaffer
Ch grip
Prop master
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Bye Bye Birdie by Michael Stewart, Charles Strouse, Lee Adams (New York, 14 Apr 1960).
SONGS
"Bye Bye Birdie," "Honestly Sincere," "How Lovely to Be a Woman," "Hymn for a Sunday Evening," "Kids," "A Lot of Livin' to Do," "One Boy," "One Last Kiss," "Put On a Happy Face," "Kids," "The Shriners' Ballet," "Rosie," "The Telephone Hour," and "We Love You, Conrad," music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Lee Adams.
DETAILS
Release Date:
4 April 1963
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 4 April 1963
Los Angeles opening: 5 April 1963
Production Date:
4 May 1962--16 February 1963
Copyright Claimant:
Kohlmar-Sidney Co.
Copyright Date:
1 June 1963
Copyright Number:
LP25369
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA
Color
Eastman Color, print by Technicolor
Widescreen/ratio
Panavision
Duration(in mins):
112
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The news that Conrad Birdie, a rock-n-roll idol, is to be drafted creates a national crisis among his teenaged worshipers and spells doom for Albert Peterson, an impoverished song writer who wrote the title song for a film Conrad had planned to make. Adding to Albert's woe are the attempts of his domineering mother to break up his romance with Rosie DeLeon, his long-suffering secretary. In an effort to solve the dilemma, Rosie induces Albert to write a special farewell song that Conrad will sing to a fan on the Ed Sullivan show. The lucky girl selected to receive a parting kiss from Conrad is 16-year-old Kim McAfee of Sweet Apple, Ohio; but the singer's arrival there creates a near riot; Kim's boyfriend Hugo Peabody, becomes jealous, her father refuses to let Conrad stay in his home, and, even worse, Albert's mother arrives on the scene. The final blow comes when word arrives that Albert's spot on the TV show will be limited to 30 seconds because the Russian ballet troupe scheduled to appear before Conrad needs an extra 4 minutes. In desperation, Albert and Rosie slip some pills that speed up nerve reflexes into a glass of milk; the Russian conductor drinks it, and the ballet turns into a farce. Conrad performs Albert's song, but as he sings to Kim, Hugo socks the singer on the jaw in full sight of all. All ends happily, however, as Kim is reunited with Hugo, Albert finally decides to marry Rosie, and even Mama finds a Sweet Apple resident who wants to marry her. Songs : "Bye Bye Birdie" (Kim); "The Telephone Hour" (Hugo, ... +


The news that Conrad Birdie, a rock-n-roll idol, is to be drafted creates a national crisis among his teenaged worshipers and spells doom for Albert Peterson, an impoverished song writer who wrote the title song for a film Conrad had planned to make. Adding to Albert's woe are the attempts of his domineering mother to break up his romance with Rosie DeLeon, his long-suffering secretary. In an effort to solve the dilemma, Rosie induces Albert to write a special farewell song that Conrad will sing to a fan on the Ed Sullivan show. The lucky girl selected to receive a parting kiss from Conrad is 16-year-old Kim McAfee of Sweet Apple, Ohio; but the singer's arrival there creates a near riot; Kim's boyfriend Hugo Peabody, becomes jealous, her father refuses to let Conrad stay in his home, and, even worse, Albert's mother arrives on the scene. The final blow comes when word arrives that Albert's spot on the TV show will be limited to 30 seconds because the Russian ballet troupe scheduled to appear before Conrad needs an extra 4 minutes. In desperation, Albert and Rosie slip some pills that speed up nerve reflexes into a glass of milk; the Russian conductor drinks it, and the ballet turns into a farce. Conrad performs Albert's song, but as he sings to Kim, Hugo socks the singer on the jaw in full sight of all. All ends happily, however, as Kim is reunited with Hugo, Albert finally decides to marry Rosie, and even Mama finds a Sweet Apple resident who wants to marry her. Songs : "Bye Bye Birdie" (Kim); "The Telephone Hour" (Hugo, Chorus); "How Lovely To Be a Woman" (Kim); "Put on a Happy Face" (Rosie, Albert); "One Boy" (Kim, Hugo); "Honestly Sincere" (Conrad); "Hymn for a Sunday Evening" (Kim, Mr. McAfee, Mrs. McAfee, Randolph); "One Last Kiss" (Conrad); "Kids" (Mama, Mr. McAfee, Albert, Randolph); "A Lot of Living To Do" (Kim, Hugo, Conrad); "Rosie" (Rosie, Albert); "The Shriners' Ballet" (Rosie, Dancers). +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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